Top GVSU senior earns another season
Kourtney Wolters back for another round after NCAA ruling
With the fall sports season getting underway, graduated student-athletes across the country find themselves wishing they could turn back the clock to relive their glory days. While they can only dream, Grand Valley State volleyball senior captain Kourtney Wolters is getting to live out that fantasy.
When Southwest Minnesota State knocked off GVSU in the national semifinals last season, Wolters thought her college career was over. Fast-forward a couple months, and things changed.
The NCAA decided Wolters hadn’t used up a year of eligibility when she played club volleyball with Western Michigan back in 2013, before she transferred to GVSU.
“It was a rush of emotions,” Wolters said. “I tried to call everyone. My sister was the first person to pick up actually.”
Kourtney’s twin sister, Kaitlyn Wolters, was named 2014 GLIAC Player of the Year and GLIAC Setter of the Year. They played together at Unity Christian High School before both moved on to Grand Rapids Community College, where they helped lead the Raiders to the 2012 NJCAA Division II National Championship.
Kaitlyn then transferred to GVSU, while Kourtney went to WMU.
“I liked the school Western, (leaving) wasn’t about the school. It was the volleyball.” Kourtney said. “I played club. I tried it for a couple of weeks and I realized coming to Kait’s games I wasn’t ready to give it up, that level of playing (competition).”
The Wolters’ reunion last season even received national attention from www.NCAA.com as the Lakers won 12 straight sets en route to the Final Four. But, now with a second chance, the pressure is squarely on Kourtney.
“I want for her to be able to step out of Kait’s shadow a little bit,” said head coach Deanne Scanlon. “Kait has had a lot of accolades in her career and I think Kourtney is just as capable.”
Kourtney continued to make strides and improve as last season went along. Arguably her best games came during the NCAA Tournament run. In the quarterfinals, she recorded a season-best six kills and four blocks in a 3-0 win over No. 12 Wingate. She then followed that up in a semifinal loss with a strong all-around performance of two kills, two assists, four blocks and 10 digs.
Fellow senior leader and Wolters’ roommate for the past two years, Kaleigh Lound, only had great things to say about her teammate.
“She is bubbly, energetic, she is super positive; she is probably the most positive person I know.” Lound said. “She is like a silent leader, she leads by example. And everyone else just knows if Kourtney is doing this then it’s probably what the coach expects.”
Scanlon took that characterization a step further: “She comes in, has a smile on her face. She is always just bopping around; I call her a little puppy because that’s exactly what she looks like.”
Wolters can only hope her positive energy rubs off on her teammates and make them aware they should have fun and enjoy every moment, because it’s not going to last forever.
Her situation, for now, is the exception.